first crop of maple syrup

09 Mar This year’s first batch of maple syrup should be ready this weekend

The taps are flowing for many local maple syrup producers and fresh batches of the sweet stuff should be ready for purchase this weekend.
The maple syrup season is off to an excellent start, said Tom Shaw, owner of Shaw’s Maple Products and Pancake House in Oro-Medonte Township.
“The last few days have been good,” he said.
Each maple syrup season is different, thanks to the fluctuation of temperatures each year. Ideal syrup-making conditions see milder temperatures during the day and cooler at night.
“It all depends on the weather we have once the trees (thaw),” Shaw explained. “The more warm weather we have during the day and the more cold nights we get, from the time the trees (thaw) to the time the buds come out on the trees, that’s what determines our season. The weather before and after really doesn’t affect the flows all that much.”
Generally, the maple syrup season lasts four to six weeks. Whether producers are boiling during all six weeks is dependent on weather conditions. There have been two syrup boils since the return of milder weather earlier in the week.
“Things are just getting going,” Shaw said. “The trees will really react to the temperatures now that the process has started.”
The past two years have seen somewhat of a return to normalcy, Shaw said, when it comes to when maple syrup producers are able to first tap the trees to get the sweet nectar flowing. That’s thanks to this year and last year featuring what he called “old-fashioned winters.”
“We’ve been getting used to, in the last several years, getting started in the first part of March, when, traditionally, this bush doesn’t really start running until the second week of March, which is what we’ve seen in the past two years,” Shaw said. “It’s kind of back to what we were used to as opposed to what’s happened in the past couple of decades, where it’s gotten earlier and earlier.”
The maple syrup produced at Shaw’s in the past few days will be packaged Saturday and available for sale.
Shaw’s is one of the 29 stops on the Tap Into Maple route, sponsored by Ontario’s Lake Country. For more information about the route and some of the attractions along the way, visit ontarioslakecountry.com/tapintomaple.

patrick.bales@sunmedia.ca
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